Friday, April 13, 2007

First look: Hairspray

For months now, New Line has been zealously showering the press with a confetti of (unsubstantiated) good buzz on Hairspray, the movie adapted from the musical adapted from the movie (yes, another one of those). Yesterday I saw 17 minutes of footage -- a mix of scenes and numbers assembled by the director Adam Shankman. If one can purport to conclude anything from seeing a clip reel of a film's best moments, I purport to conclude this:

Michelle Pfeiffer is going to be delicious as the icy Velma Von Tussle, and John Travolta (above, at left) is going to be unwatchable in drag as Edna Turnbland, the Baltimorean matriarch of Brobdingnagian proportions. Travolta looks like an alien or a theme park mascot or a CGI creation. A Macy's parade float, if you will. The getup (no attempt to mask the gnarled manhands?) and the act (is that a Minnesotan accent?) doesn't work. His scenes were uncomfortable to watch. Seems like a miscalculation.
But! I only saw a bit of the film. Maybe Travolta is sensational. I'll leave the rash, obsequious conclusions to The Baltimore Sun's Michael Sragow, who went simply ga-ga over the footage. Without seeing the complete version, he's already christened it a huge smash. Note: The film does not open til July. Yet he writes: "Credit director and choreographer Adam Shankman for Hairspray's success." What success? Sragow hasn't seen the film yet. It hasn't opened. Good grief. New Line is probably loving it.
Other thoughts: Can't wait to see Pfeiffer rev her comic chops -- the crowd of critics were hanging on her every word. Amanda Bynes seems like she's going to be funny too. Queen Latifah passively plays herself, as she always does, in anything she's in. Seems like newcomer Nikki Blonsky was a wise choice for the lead. It's nice to see James Marsden not looking aggrieved. I'm concerned that Hairspray will pull a Dreamgirls -- will it just be catchy music with no swell of drama or comedy?


Middento said...

If nothing else, I think you just made Nathaniel's day, when he gets back to The Film Experience.

Anonymous said...

that shoulda been me! i coulda been a contender! *frazzle rats stupid seventeen year-old from long island*